Laura Warnier (GoStudent): “Education is one of the last sectors that is not yet digital”

At 32, Laura Warnier from Liège is one of the pillars of GoStudent, the largest EdTech company in Europe. His company worth more than 3.5 billion dollars wants to reform the education system. The road covered in just four years is impressive.

It’s almost in the name of the company. At GoStudent, the Austrian company that specializes in private distance learning, we’re not the type to hang out. Less than a year ago, we had the newspaper drawing a picture of Laura Warnier.

The young Liégeoise responsible for the growth of the group is the second employee hired by the co-founders. Last summer, the numbers put forward were as follows: 400,000 lessons given each month, 600 employees and a record fundraising of 205 million euros.

Ten months later, the GoStudent outline has become ridiculous. Today 1.5 million classes are held every month, 2,000 employees work for the company and the last financial operation, conducted in January, raised 300 million euros from investors. “Things are really moving fast,” smiled Laura Warnier, who traveled to Brussels for the summit.

There is also no question of slowing down the pace. “Right now, we don’t put any limits. We launched in 15 countries last year, to be available in all markets that seem to interest us. Between 2020 and 2021, our growth will increase by 700% ”, he explained without saying anything about the exact numbers of the group.

The latter, which has now put its pawns well in Europe, is now attacking the United States. GoStudent recently opened an office there, in Austin, on the 24thand in the group. “There are 50 million students in the United States, so this is clearly a market with huge potential.”

The mathematician neighbors as a competitor

Since launch, GoStudent has raised € 660 million and its value has exceeded € 3.5 billion. Very simply, in the Ed Tech market, GoStudent the biggest player in Europe and among the world’s leaders.

Its main competitor, however, is not one of collection chain and market opening. The main player in the sector is the “shadow market“, as Laura Warnier calls it. That is, the private teacher found in the neighborhood or the older sister of the classmate. The kind of competition that seems hard to counteract.

Seen from Belgium where the population is very dense, in fact it seems very simple to find people. But obviously it’s not going to happen anywhere. In Austria, for example, outside of the big cities, I can tell you it’s much more complicated ”.

“Before incarceration, for some parents, it was unimaginable that teaching would be done remotely.”

Laura Warnier

Chief Growth Officer of GoStudent

To get the shares out of this strong competition, GoStudent has to fight give his letters of majesty to private lessons at a distance while the physical version of it is usually preferred by parents.

“Before the incarceration, when parents contacted us, when we offered them the first session online, 30% declined. For them, it was unimaginable that the teaching was done remotely,” Laura Warnier explained. Since covid, we are down 3%, even though we were still struggling. Parents experimented with remote lessons through classes of 25 students, which did not provide the best possible experience. But in private lessons, the interest is different and our job is also to make sure the experience is enhanced ”.

The class always has its place

For while convincing parents is sometimes complicated, it is especially necessary from now on to interest students who have long been selling benches in their class for their home office. “60% of students highlight lack of contact as the main difficulty at this time”, launches Laura Warnier. For him, distance learning so never replace the good old class. But nothing can stop him from adding a small point to 21and century.

“If we can imagine a classroom today, we have in mind a room that hasn’t changed in many years.”

“If we imagine a classroom today, we have in mind a room that hasn’t changed in years. It’s one of the last sectors that hasn’t been digitized. However, it may have a real interest in comfort. to teachers in some tasks or make teaching more fun.It can be through gamefication, interaction with foreign teachers, faster correction through AI … If today, education is less popular, because also than‘He won’t sell himself and reinvent himself like any other industry should. “

The school may, like the world of work, review the way it organizes its days. “Now, school from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day face to face may no longer be the most appropriate format. There should also be plenty of room for freedom and creativity. Gmail was created thanks to the freedom given to it by its engineers. At Google, they have 20% of their time working on whatever projects they want. “

Smooth coding

To better meet the demands of the world of work, they are multiplying gain integration with existing coding. Laura Warnier too. But by doing it the right way.

“Coding has this advantage that it’s useful as a pure skill, but also because it makes logic work. But it’s this lack of skill right now that leads to a training problem. There are always dropouts. and young people who need more support.However, we see that now, profiles that help them are complicated to find.So we need to startbut go slowly“.

Belgian complexity as an asset

Even when she is no longer in Belgium, Laura Warnier closely monitors the tech ecosystem in her home country. “Today, there are investors, but very little risk capital and this type of investment is still very scary in the market”, slips Liégeoise who is also surprised at the country’s difficulty in taking advantage of its characteristics. . “Belgium is very complex. But it should suddenly become a super interesting market. It’s a little bit of a European version. However, the vision there is more regional”. Three months later, he joined the Syndicate one initiative that brings together 32 very good Belgian brains who want to help with the best Belgian projects. “Our contribution is financial, but the interest is above all in the level of our knowledge and our own networks. The panel is strong, because it is very different”.

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